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grainline on single knits

edgy | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi all,

I’m new to knits and having the darndest ime folding on a graindline to lay out my pattern pieces. My problem is really with the single knits (have several w spandex). I can’t see any line to follow across 60″ and get it right. I’m even wearing my reading glasses and a Mag-Eyes. It’s just too tedious, and I can’t get it even if I spend 2 hours trying. (I did!) I’ve looked in past Threads; online — everywhere I can think of — yet nobody seems to have any other way to do this. Am I obsessing? Does it really not matter in knits if you don’t get itEXACTLY on grain? How do you all deal w this?



  1. SewTruTerry | | #1

    Ok Nancy I think I will try this again. The first time I wrote this out it did not make sense even to me so I deleted it before I sent it.  Here goes.  The best way to make sure you have the fabric on grain for something that does not have a visible line like a check or a stripe that may or may not be on grain in the first place is to hold up the cut end and fold in half like it came off of the bolt. If the cut ends are met and the fold and the rest of the fabric is smooth then you are on grain.  If not and the fold or the rest of the fabric has those pulls or folds then adjust the fabric until it is all flat then you should be on grain.  Good Luck.

    1. edgy | | #2

      Thanks, Terry. When you smooth out the fabric, do the selvedgs need to meet? This cotton/lycra has the selvages every which way and ironing did not really help. it seems like SOMETHING has to meet.

      Still stymied,


      1. FitnessNut | | #3

        I've used cotton/lycra with selvedges like that, too. Yuk! Its really hard to know if you're anywhere near a correct layout. What I did, which was the only thing I could think of at the time, is fold the fabric in half, right sides out, with the selvedges as close to matching as possible and as smooth as possible along the fold. Have a look along the fold and see if you can follow a lengthwise rib. That rib is your grainline with a knit. Try to get it as straight as possible. I've been able to cut large scraps out using the rib as a guideline and have had good success.

        Good luck! Let us know how it works out.


        PS Ironing fabric with lycra is not a good idea, unless you use a low heat setting. It is a heat sensitive fibre and you could damage it.

      2. SewTruTerry | | #7

        They don't have to meet but they should be parellel to each other.

    2. HeartFire | | #4

      Tauton has a book called Sewing with knits by Connie Long, she says to fold knits (esp. single knits) right sides out  (wrong sides together) because the rib of the knit is only visible from the right side.

      She also says that knits do not have selvages if they were knit as cylindrical tubes, they are cut lengthwise after they are knit. so the lengthwise edges may not be cut straight.

      I think your best bet would be to fold it , right side out and carefully watch right at the fold for the 'crack' between two ribs (I'm not sure if that is the correct word) and then just carefully place straight pins down the length of the fold to keep it.

      hope this helps


      1. edgy | | #5

        Thanks, everyone, I'm doing exactly what you and Connie Long have suggested and I think it's a lot of work, but I love the versatility of this fabric, so I guess it's just one more step.


        1. ElonaM | | #6

          You can buy a widget called a "linen tester," which is a little magnifier that sits in a small plastic or metal frame. They can be quite powerful, and with one, you can pick out a rib or grainline, and then slide the thing along, marking that rib at intervals, and using it to establish your straight grain.

          Here's a picture:


          Some quilting stores carry them, and some sewing catalogues like Clotilde used to carry a simple magnifying orb that you could use the same way.

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